Black Friday is a disgusting holiday. It eats through the fabric of American society like moths in a nice coat. I used to balk at such grandiose statements, but no longer. I have stared into the Abyss of Capitalism, and it stared back at half price. Let me tell you a story of how I learned of Black Friday’s true and sinister nature.
I don’t believe in the supernatural, thus I am a man of ritual. Personal, secular, nonsensical ritual, to satisfy the caveman bureau of my brain that says if I don’t do the right thing at the right time on a certain schedule I risk the wrath of The Badness. One of my rituals is to go to the Wawa in my hometown at least once every time I see my parents for a holiday.
If you aren’t aware of what a Wawa is, it’s like a Sheetz but much better. If you aren’t aware of what a Sheetz is, then I’m sorry that fate cursed you so. Our Wawa was built around my junior year of high school. I felt as if I had been dragged from Plato’s cave.
I make these ritual Wawa runs late at night, often after midnight. I have hated crowds since before it was trendy, and the only people in Wawa after midnight are people like me, who also hate crowds, thus there’s few of us. My Wawa is several miles up the highway, so I hop in my car and go. Thrash metal is tearing at my ears, because if this really were the best of all possible worlds then leitmotif would happen in real life and mine would be a Warbringer riff that blares at awkward times, like when I’m trying to flirt with the only girl in the bar with short hair and glasses.
Why do I do that? They’re never straight, and if they are, they’re dating the bartender.
The parking lot of my Wawa is choked by Wawa standards. This is half full by any other measure. Something is wrong. My hackles are up. Or at least my eyebrow is.
I pump gas. I don’t particularly feel like doing it in the morning when I leave my parents’ house. Though this does mean I am only making one Wawa run this time around instead of two. Gas runs me $12.60. I leave the car at the pump rather than moving it to a parking space because I’m a selfish tool.
I go inside for my true purpose: Delicious sub sandwiches. Perhaps they’ll have the pretzels out too in the little bags under the heat lamps. This is rare at midnight, but not unheard of. Inside I find my deepest horror this side of my ex-fiance: White Suburban Mothers.
I loathe the White Suburban Mother. My tombstone will read something to this end, or someone’s getting haunted. I’m at a loss to explain to you why this hatred exists or whence it comes. It is so bad that I am always reminding myself that not all white mothers living in the suburbs are White Suburban Mothers. I feel like the holidays would be improved by #NotAllWSMs.
But there are seriously like five or seven of them in here, with that number again White Suburban Teenage Daughters, which, as the larval stage, are almost as bad. I am gobsmacked. This is my hour! The cheek of some people!
I steer around several spatially oblivious women (and WSMs are always spatially oblivious, that’s the worst part about them, besides all the other worst parts) and find the ordering screen. See why I love this place? I don’t even have to talk to someone to get food. I’m a real winner in the every-man-an-island future we’ve created in 2015.
They have the pretzels. This night is not a total wash. I buy the only jalapeno cheese one. It is burnt so bad you’d think it was coke fresh from the fireplace. But I haven’t had one for 11 months so it’s the most delicious thing I’ve had all day besides my mom’s “grown up” mac and cheese, and that shit’s got gruyere cheese in it, so the competition just isn’t fair.
The girl running the register looks exhausted, so I give her my condolences. She sighs the resigned “Yeah…” with the ellipsis fully implied and then we both glance sidelong as the WSMs and trade a knowing look of disgust.
My purchase is $12.60. No joke. I can’t write shit that good. And suddenly, as the Twilight Zone theme starts to run through my head, it dawns on me why all these middle-aged white women are botching my zero-dark-thirty Wawa run. It’s Black Friday. Has been for anywhere between 15 minutes and over 6 hours depending on which retail giant you patronize.
And I’m within spitting distance of several. If I swore in the Wawa parking lot, WSMs in the Target would glare in my general direction. There’s a Home Depot a street over. Walmart is around somewhere. These women are on lunch break, only during the witching hour.
Then I see the dread cultists of consumerism begin to shuffle out with their purchases. Fancy iced coffees. Gourmet soups. No a single sub sandwich between them, with their numbers north of a dozen. Shameful. Disgusting. The sight still chews on my heart.
What is wrong with America when we have a holiday that sends WSMs out in droves and disturbs the ritual consumption of salted meats on bread by jerkoff misanthropes who live from sundown to sun-up? Ban Black Friday, says I.
One of the daughters walks through my field of view and looks at me overlong while I stand and stare down an oven like it owes me lunch money. Really I’m just spaced out. Thanksgiving gluttony is exhausting. My brain, normally the Last of the V8 Interceptors, is firing on five cylinders. Only beer-fatigue kept me from hailing Satan right in her face.
This is the last time I watch Mean Girls before I make a ritual holiday Wawa run.